Glass Movie Review
In the year 2000, writer/director M. Night Shyamalan released UNBREAKABLE, a very subtle origin superhero film unlike anything anyone has ever seen. It was completely different from the grand Marvel or DC universe that we’ve grown accustomed to presently. In 2016, the filmmaker brought us SPLIT, a fascinating thriller with an abductor who has multiple personalities. In a final tag at the end of the film, fans were elated to see that these two films are connected in the same universe. GLASS is the third part of this very unique trilogy.
As many of you know, each title of the films are dedicated to a character. UNBREAKABLE describes the super human power of David Dunn (Bruce Willis). SPLIT belongs to all the split personalities of Kevin (James McAvoy), who has one in particular named Beast with super human qualities. GLASS belongs to Mr. Glass or Elijah (Samuel L. Jackson), who is on the opposite spectrum of being extremely frail with bones that break like glass. However, he does have an especially brilliant mind, albeit an evil one. The three are being observed by Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson) who specializes in treating people who believe they have superpowers. It’s an interesting setup with an entertaining slow burn. Much like UNBREAKABLE, it’s more about the idea, or origin story as Mr. Glass likes to put it, that Comic Books stem from history and that superheroes do exist.
GLASS picks up with David Dunn as a small time vigilante. He and his now adult son, Joseph (Spencer Treat Clark), are working together to find some missing cheerleaders who have been abducted by the twenty-four personalities of Kevin (James McAvoy). Shyamalan wisely doesn’t waste anytime showing what these two characters are capable of since they have already been established in the first two films.
The twists and nuances don’t have as large as an effect as the previous two, because, well much of the “are they or aren’t they” elements have already been established. However, Shyamalan peppers the film with a lot of subtle humor and well-developed characters. He also plants a seed of doubt inside the characters, which brings an unusual mix to things.
The performances are excellent across the board, even with some clunky over-explaining dialogue. But that’s also part of the charm. Jackson and Willis are the steady hand. The returning supporting work from Anya Taylor-Joy, Spencer Treat Clark, and Charlayne Woodard are exceptional. The introduction of Sarah Paulson as the Psychology doctor is commanding. And James McAvoy once again delivers an Oscar worthy performance as he switches through all 24 different personalities.
Needless to say, you’ll want to play some catch up if you haven’t seen the first two films. While GLASS is perhaps the weakest of the three, it makes for a mostly satisfying ending for those who are a fan of the trilogy. I am probably in a select group of people who like M. Night Shyamalan films more than most and only consider him to have two truly terrible movies in his collection (THE LAST AIRBENDER, AFTER EARTH). Yes, I enjoy THE VILLAGE, LADY IN THE WATER, and some aspects of the admittedly dopey THE HAPPENING. I think THE SIXTH SENSE and SIGNS are incredible and THE VISIT was great return to form of his tension-filled early years. That might help you decide where I stand on Shyamalan’s brand of filmmaking and if you agree with my review.
I think GLASS, along with with the previous two films, is special because of the unique story and unusual view on the superhero genre that is currently so prevalent. Perhaps it’s a little late coming, but I respect Shyamalan’s vision. What is so unique about the writer and director is that he is able to find the extraordinary inside the ordinary. It’s a feat that I find to be in some respects, inspirational.